A post-apocalyptic tale: The Road – Cormac McCarthy

The novel was the winner of 2007 Pulitzer award (why Pulitzer for a science-fiction novel?) And presents our world at the twilight of the human race following a nuclear war. It is true that this whole nuclear winter was never mentioned in the novel, rather being an integrated part of the description that was given to the book by it’s publisher. (Romanian version at least). In fact, the way McCarthy describes the cataclysm that ended the world, proves it was not atomic. There is no mention of the atomic bomb radiation diseases or mutations implied by nuclear detonations. The novel describes only a desolate world, where a man with his son, while enduring hunger, cold and rain, are traveling south in the hope of finding a warmer weather.

Many things do not happen in the novel, the action is linear , with brief flashbacks in which the man remembers either his deceased wife or the world that was “before.” The Road begins as a promising novel but does not deliver. I’ve read this in it’s Romanian translation and the writing seemed strange (after I also saw the film I certainly do not have the patience and time to invest more into this story and also read the English version to compare but I’m sure it sounds better in English). I also do not understand how the dialogue was sometimes placed in the text, without any differentiation with quotation marks or indents, and sometimes it was is clearly marked as dialogue. Besides, conversations are absolutely stupid, “OK” appears to be the only thing that the two characters are able to say. I do not understand how everything is burned and destroyed besides houses as it is a known fact that the homes in the USA are built of wood. Why when they find a bunker full of food that would have supplied their needs perhaps a few years, the two prefer to continue traveling towards a destination they have no faith in? Was it Just because the novel is called “The Road”?

McCarthy’s novel has at least two qualities: it’s thin and has big letters. I would say it’s the first novel I read where nothing happens. But from my point of view, if I got through with it, it’s still a readable novel. I admit that it sometimes “hooked me” but only to leave me disappointed in the following pages. McCarthy have so many platitudes strung through the story that when he is trying to convey profound things they become almost comical. The writing seems the one of a great writer to me, but the story has absolutely nothing


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